Stover residents have scheduled a march and candlelight vigil in memory of 3-year-old Blake Litton, who died last week at Bothwell Regional Health Center from injuries allegedly sustained in a beating at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend.
The “All About Blake!” march will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday at Morgan County R-1 School, followed by a candlelight vigil at Stover City Park. The event is being organized by Aubrey Hendricks and Jennifer Fahrer, both of Tipton, who hope to use the event both as a memorial for Blake and to raise awareness regarding child abuse.
“This is a very close-knit community,” Hendricks told the Democrat on Monday. “We just did not think it was right not to do anything in his memory. This is closure for our small town.”
According to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, Thomas Presley, 21, and Jamie Ann Litton, 25, both of Stover, each face one count of second-degree murder in Blake’s death. His mother also faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Both are being held in Morgan County on $100,000 bonds.
Morgan County Sheriff Jim Petty told the Associated Press on Friday that investigators believe Presley “basically beat (Blake) to death because he pooped in his pants and (Presley) hit him and he got out of control.”
The child was transported to BRHC last Thursday morning after Presley reported that the boy had been injured in a hit-and-run accident.
“It just didn’t quite add up, the things he said and the questions that were asked, so we started probing into it and what had happened so forth,” Petty said Friday. “It snowballed into a homicide investigation pretty quick. He has implicated himself in assaulting the boy at the home and fabricated the story so he wouldn’t be arrested.”
Hendricks said she and Fahrer attended high school with Jamie Litton and are acquainted with the family and felt compelled to organize an event to honor the child’s memory.
“This is for Blake, and this is for our community,” Hendricks said. “But this is also for awareness to stop child abuse. We would like anybody and everybody to come.”
Hendricks said organizers hope to use the march and vigil “as a starting place” to raise awareness regarding child abuse and may plan other events in the coming months.
“It all starts here,” she said.
The two women have asked that people bring blue or white tapered candles wrapped in blue ribbon, and to wear blue or white shirts in Blake’s memory. Candles will be available at the vigil for 25 cents each.
Hendricks said any money raised during the event will go to a fund to be used to cover necessities and living expenses for Blake’s three surviving siblings.
To make a donation to the fund or for more information, call Hendricks at 573-418-6274, or Fahrer at 816-592-0744.